7.7/10
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261 user 101 critic

The Quiet Man (1952)

Trailer
1:51 | Trailer
A retired American boxer returns to the village of his birth in Ireland, where he falls for a spirited redhead whose brother is contemptuous of their union.

Director:

John Ford

Writers:

Frank S. Nugent (screenplay), Maurice Walsh (from the story by)
Reviews
Popularity
4,601 ( 26)
Won 2 Oscars. Another 8 wins & 8 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Wayne ... Sean Thornton
Maureen O'Hara ... Mary Kate Danaher
Barry Fitzgerald ... Michaleen Oge Flynn
Ward Bond ... Father Peter Lonergan
Victor McLaglen ... Squire 'Red' Will Danaher
Mildred Natwick ... The Widow Sarah Tillane
Francis Ford ... Dan Tobin
Eileen Crowe Eileen Crowe ... Mrs. Elizabeth Playfair
May Craig May Craig ... Fishwoman with Basket at Station
Arthur Shields ... Reverend Cyril Playfair
Charles B. Fitzsimons Charles B. Fitzsimons ... Hugh Forbes (as CHARLES fitzSIMONS)
James O'Hara ... Father Paul (as James Lilburn)
Sean McClory ... Owen Glynn (as Sean McGlory)
Jack MacGowran ... Ignatius Feeney (as Jack McGowran)
Joseph O'Dea Joseph O'Dea ... Molouney - Train Guard
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Storyline

Sean Thornton has returned from America to reclaim his homestead and escape his past. Sean's eye is caught by Mary Kate Danaher, a beautiful but poor maiden, and younger sister of ill-tempered "Red" Will Danaher. The riotous relationship that forms between Sean and Mary Kate, punctuated by Will's pugnacious attempts to keep them apart, form the main plot, with Sean's past as the dark undercurrent. Written by Steve Fenwick <scf@w0x0f.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Action...Excitement...Romance...Fill the Screen !

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Certificate:

Passed | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Republic Pictures head Herbert J. Yates wanted John Ford to shoot using the studio's own Trucolor process, but Ford insisted on the vastly superior Technicolor. See more »

Goofs

After surprising Sean by cleaning the Cottage, Mary Kate explains "It was my way of being a Good Christian act." See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Father Peter Lonergan, Narrator: Well, then. Now. I'll begin at the beginnin'. A fine soft day in the spring, it was, when the train pulled into Castletown, three hours late as usual, and himself got off. He didn't have the look of an American tourist at all about him. Not a camera on him; what was worse, not even a fishin' rod.
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Connections

Spoofed in 1941 (1979) See more »

Soundtracks

The Wild Colonial Boy
(uncredited)
Traditional
Adapted by Sean O'Casey and Dennis O'Casey
Performed by John Wayne, Ken Curtis, and Francis Ford and others in the Pub
Reprised a cappella by Wayne and Victor McLaglen
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User Reviews

 
A Woman's Film, Aye, But I Like It Too
12 November 2004 | by slokesSee all my reviews

Maureen O'Hara in Technicolor is surely any Irishman's dream, and "The Quiet Man" would be timeless for that alone. But O'Hara's performance is all the more indelible for the great good humor she bestows on her character, Mary Kate Danaher. Let's face it; with any other actress, this could have been a disaster.

Sean Thornton (John Wayne) comes back to County Mayo, his birthplace, to find a peace he lost tragically back home in America. He immediately discovers some old friends, and a new one, too, Mary Kate, who while herding sheep stares back at him in what James Joyce might have called "a significant manner."

Director John Ford elects to shoot O'Hara from an odd angle, and with an unusual overhead shadow crossing O'Hara's face, that in anyone else's hands would have totally blown the shot but here creates something, well, "Homerific." It's one of many amazing shots in a film that seems more painted than photographed, and is perhaps the most strikingly lovely film ever made.

The shot of O'Hara looking back at Wayne also clues you onto something else, that this is going to be her story as much as it is Thornton's. In fact, it's really more about her than it is about him, a film about romance and a woman's liberation at the hands of her lover. We call them "chick flicks" today. But since John Wayne is the nominal star and no one ever confused Ford with Douglas Sirk, "The Quiet Man" isn't popularly regarded this way.

It's fun to read all the comments about poor Mary Kate and how this film glamorizes the mistreatment of women. They have one thing right, it's a film about spousal domination, but it's the wife ruling the husband. Think about it: She makes her lover do just about everything he does in the film, even risk bodily injury at the hands of her brutish brother (she doesn't know about his past and thinks she married "a coward.") People complain that he drags her across a dung-covered field, while a helpful woman hands him a stick "to beat the lovely lady with." But of course it's Mary Kate who's in total control of the situation. She wants Thornton to fight for her, in every sense of the word, and won't make it easy. She wants him to adapt to her culture, rather than adapt to his. (She's not one to be "honked at," as she puts it.) It's not surprising she trips and falls at one point while Thornton pulls her across a field; probably one of those puppet strings of hers got in the way.

But there are worse things in life than being enslaved by the likes of Maureen O'Hara, like not being enslaved by the likes of Maureen O'Hara. She's not only beautiful and pure-hearted, but such a hilarious joy to be around. O'Hara plays up the comedy of her scenes very well; she could have opted for a more regal distance from the slapstick but plays it as rowdy as the rest instead. The scene when she spits in her hand before shaking with matchmaker Michaleen Flynn (Barry Fitzgerald, who gives the next-best performance after O'Hara) tells you who she is better than any of her many sexy moments on screen. It also gets back to the point of why she's so essential in this film. She is Ireland, the spirit of Erin, and you want her to win, not because she's so pretty but because you know she's good and right for Sean, too.

About the only things wrong with the film are the action sequences, the horse race and the fistfight between Sean and Mary Kate's brother. It's not because the scenes aren't terrific, but because they are so abbreviated, especially the fistfight, which feels likes its building to something even funnier and more rousing than what's come before when it just sort of stops. Ford apparently had to do some cutting to get his film in at the required length, and with his focus as much on Mary Kate as possible, probably preferred to trim the scenes that had the least to do with her. But since the focus on O'Hara is what makes the film anyway, this is a small matter. Wayne fans wanting more action will just have to content themselves with almost every other film the Duke ever made.

Seeing this film for the first time reminded me a lot of "Local Hero," the 1982 comedy. Not only is "The Quiet Man" also a fish-out-of-water story about an American in the British Isles (Scotland in "Local Hero"), both films maintain a very delicate balancing act between whimsy and pathos, with "The Quiet Man," siding on the former direction and "Local Hero" the latter. Definitely worth checking out the one if you saw and liked the other. But "Quiet Man" was there first.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Irish

Release Date:

14 September 1952 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Quiet Man See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$10,550,000
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Company Credits

Production Co:

Argosy Pictures See more »
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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Color:

Color (Technicolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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